Friday Sep 16, 1853 to Tuesday Jul 5, 1927
GermanyLudwig Karl Martin Leonhard Albrecht Kossel was a German biochemist and pioneer in the study of genetics. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1910 for his work in determining the chemical composition of nucleic acids, the genetic substance of biological cells.
In 1872, Kossel attended the University of Strassburg to study medicine. He studied under Felix Hoppe-Seyler, who was head of the department of biochemistry, the only such institution in Germany at the time. He attended lectures by Anton de Bary, Waldeyer, August Kundt, and Baeyer.
Kossel continued his previous work on the nucleic acids. During the period 1885 to 1901, he was able to isolate and name its five constituent organic compounds: adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine, and uracil, which are the molecular structure necessary in the formation of stable DNA and RNA molecules.
In 1895, Kossel was a professor of physiology as well as director of the Physiological Institute at the University of Marburg. Around this time, he began investigations into the chemical composition of proteins, the alterations in proteins during the transformation into peptone, the peptide components of cells, and other investigations.
Kossel was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1910 for his research in cell biology, the chemical composition of the cell nucleus, and for his work in isolating and describing nucleic acids. The award was presented on 10 December 1910.
In the autumn of 1911, Kossel was invited to the United States to deliver the Herter Lecture at Johns Hopkins. Traveling with his wife Luise and daughter Gertrude, he took the opportunity to travel and to visit acquaintances, one of which was Eugene W. Hilgard, professor emeritus of agricultural chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley, who was also his wife's cousin. He also visited and delivered lectures at several other universities, including the University of Chicago.
In 1923, Kossel was honored by being named Germany's representative to the Eleventh Physiological Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland. When he appeared before the assembled scientists, they gave him an ovation that lasted several minutes. At the congress, he was conferred an honorary degree by the University of Edinburgh.
In 1924, Kossel became a director at the Institute for Protein Research at Heidelberg, which was part of the laboratory of the Medical Clinic. Kossel had helped to found it as the gift of a manufacturer. His research predicted the discovery of the polypeptide nature of the protein molecule.